News of: Wednesday, November 19 2008,
The Dutch government has announced tough enforcement of the anti-smoking law, after pubs massively placed back the ashtrays.
The revolt by pub owners started in the town of Den Bosch, in the South of the Netherlands, last week. Starting last Monday, almost all pubs in Den Bosch allow smoking again.
Several other towns seem to have followed the intitiative.
The owners complain that they are losing customers and turnover because of the smoking ban, and if they don't allow smoking they will go bankrupt.
The smoking ban in cafes and restaurants has become effective in the Netherlands July 1 of this year. Whereas restaurants have become smoke-free, the ban caused problems with particularly the smaller pubs, that don't have enough space to create closed-off smoking lounges.
The resistance has grown over the past month, and is now accelerating. Throughout the Netherlands, there are reports of pubs that defy the new rules.
The government announced it will step up its efforts to enforce the smoking ban. Under the new law, the government can fine owners of pubs where smoking takes place. The government also said it will use other laws, against unfair competition, to be able to use severer sanctions (higher fines or revoking licences).
Already, a number of pubs in Den Bosch have been fined yesterday.
Although there seem to be some cafes and clubs in Amsterdam that still allow smoking, there are no reports of massive breaches of the new law in Amsterdam.